Romania — travel information

Meet Romania

Romania is a unique country full of surprises. It’s located in southeastern Europe and definitely worth a visit. No matter if you’re passionate about history, traditions, beautiful sceneries or dynamic cities still in development – you simply have to visit Romania.

In some places, the simple, authentic lifestyle is still being preserved. People are still getting around by a horse carriage, they cultivate their own food and breed animals. Like in many other European countries, people are moving from the rural area to the cities, therefore accentuating the big contrast between those two areas.

We both were born here, but Deian left the country when he was only ten months old to live with his parents in Germany. Alina, on the other hand, grew up in Romania, after communism had been eradicated and changes could be observed with the naked eye. When he was still young, Deian visited his home country yearly and stayed with his grandparents. He isn’t a stranger in this country.

The first visit in Romania

Growing up, we started becoming more aware of the country we lived in and wanted to explore it more and more. If you visit Romania for the first time, don’t limit yourself to the big cities or the capital, Bucharest. Yes, you’ll find a great nightlife in the major cities, but you won’t be able to experience the real Romania. Spend around two or three days in the city you chose; then, take a train, rent a car or use a ride-sharing website to explore the counties surrounding you.

Destinations

Do make sure that you’re prepared for the bumpy ride. Romania’s infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired and delays are the norm, not the exception. If you adore the sea, visit wild beaches and spend a few days in the Danube Delta. Prefer the mountain? Spend at least two weeks here, because this country has a lot of idyllic areas to offer where you will simply never want to leave. Even the level areas are beautiful and some are pretty undiscovered by tourists. Try to find a place to stay through Airbnb, Couchsurfing, monasteries or simply stay with locals. Spend some time with Romanians, find out about their culture and ask them about places to visit that are not touristy.

Food, drinks and people in Romania

If you’re not a shy person and like to experience the authentic local cuisine, prepare yourself to eat a lot of meat or meat-based products in Romania. Ask your host if he knows restaurants that serve traditional Romanian food or food that is specific for the region. If you decided to visit a small town or village, you’re in luck. Every family cooks at home and you can enjoy some authentic meals at their homes.

Every restaurant that serves traditional Romanian food has mititei to offer (grilled ground meat rolls made from pork, lamb, beef and spices); they’re served with bread and mustard. Another traditional food is sarmale (cabbage leaves rolled around a filling based on minced meat, rice and vegetables). These are often served with mămăligă (boiled corn meal), sour cream and cheese. Borsch is another popular food in Romania, which is very different from region to region. Ciorba de burtă is made from the stomach of a cow and is usually served with chilli pepper and sour cream; also popular is ciorba de perișoare (borsch with meat balls), ciorbă țărănească (borsch with vegetables) or ciorba de pește (borsch with fish). If you have the chance, try the eggplant spread (salată de vinete), all kinds of different stews (usually with meat) and meat balls. Romania also has some tasty desserts to offer, for example, papanași (a kind of fried doughnut filled with sour cream or jam).

If you’re travelling on a budget through Romania, keep in mind that some restaurants offer the meal of the day (usually during work days); it usually consists of two dishes: a soup and a main dish; sometimes even dessert is offered — and the price is always favourable. Do you like alcoholic beverages? Try local vines, the famous plum brandy (țuică) and local beers.

Staying for a longer period in one city? Visit the local farmer’s markets and buy fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables; you’ll also find cheese and eggs there. Even if Romania doesn’t have the same four seasons as before, seasonal fruits and vegetables are still widely available. However, make sure that you buy from locals; their food is marked with the Romanian flag and easy to spot. Try not to buy too much food from supermarkets because their products are imported and not always of good quality.

The Romanian locals are usually inviting and friendly. However, sometimes you can meet grumpy or agitated people, especially in the big cities. Most Romanians are religious (or pretend to be) and it’s best to just avoid this subject. Also: Don’t talk about politics, ever. In the big cities, the majority speaks English on a basic level, so asking for help isn’t a huge problem. And if they don’t speak English, they’ll still try to help you.

Vegetarian or vegan in Romania

As a vegetarian, you will be quite happy in Romania; most restaurants have at least a few vegetarian offerings. We highly recommend buying local cheese. Some supermarkets even offer readily made vegetarian or vegan dishes.

Vegans will not be as easily pleased because outside of the vegan restaurants, your options are highly limited (ask Deian, he knows). During Easter, vegans have it a bit easier, because most restaurants offer vegan options. Ask for the option de post, to be sure. If you like to cook, buy fresh ingredients and visit bio supermarkets that have vegan products.

We recommend vegans and vegetarians to visit big cities because there, you have more options. If you decide to visit the rural area, make some provisions.

Beware of vegetable cheese because not all are 100 percent vegan. Read the inscription on the back and make sure that it doesn’t contain any lactose. Desserts are also tricky because, even in the fasting season, they usually contain honey. Always ask if honey was used, even if people say that they’re vegan. If you drink coffee, ask for soy or coconut milk, even if you have to pay extra.

Culture and art in Romania

Contrary to popular believe, Romania isn’t all about Dracula. The country has Latin, German, French, Slavish, Greek, Hungarian, Jewish and Armenian influences. These can be seen all over the country in its art, architecture, literature and music. A lot of traditions are still being kept alive, especially in the rural areas. If you’re passionate about theatre and movies, visit the festivals dedicated to them; they often have English subtitles. Every city has a variety of museums worth visiting, but the best one is the museum of the village (muzeul satului).

Once you’ve planned your visit in Romania, relax, put comfortable shoes on, be aware of your surroundings and live the local life.

Articles about Romania

Being Romanians, we know our country quite well. Find some of our articles below.

mobile in internet Romania

Mobile internet in Romania — always online as a digital nomad

Romania has become well-known for its fast, wired internet — how does the mobile internet in Romania compare?

10 cafés restaurants in the city Oradea

10 cafes and restaurants in Oradea worth visiting

Freshly brewed coffee, tasty ice-cream and other healthy food — this is what we chose to eat during our three day stay, wandering through a lot of restaurants in the city Oradea.

Orașul Oradea bijuteria nedescoperită a României

The city Oradea — Romania’s undiscovered jewel

A walk along the river Crișul Repede is a must if you find yourselves in the city Oradea. Get lost in the historic city centre, go to the theatre and spend some time with the locals.

Resources for reservations in Romania

Find useful resources below that will help you find a room or apartment in Romania.

Credit for Airbnb in Romania

Are are you looking for a pleasant, authentic holiday in Romania? Book a room or apartment through Airbnb using our special link* and you’ll get a discount.

Alina & Deian recommend

I love staying in Romania and highly recommend visiting the rural area more often than the big cities.
Despre Alina
Alina
Romania benefits from its natural beauty you won’t find anywhere else. Spend as much time as possible outside.
Despre Deian
Deian

Questions and answers about Romania

Where is Romania?

Romania is located in Eastern Europe, neighbouring countries like Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Moldova.

What are popular holiday destinations in Romania?

Romanians like to visit the sea and the mountains, especially Mamaia and Poiana Brasov.

Is a holiday to Romania cheap?

It definitely can be. There are cheap flights from all over Europe now and thanks to Airbnb, you can book a room or apartment for weeks or months and affordable prices.

Is a gay holiday in Romania possible?

Romania is, as many other former communist countries, not very gay-friendly. According to ILGA-Europe, the gay-friendly index is only around 21 percent, much worse than in countries like Croatia or Greece. Still, there is seldom any violence against gay people in Romania and, apart from some odd looks, nobody should feel afraid. We recommend, however, to stay in Bucharest as a gay couple because there is more to do. You can, for example, visit Queens Club, the only gay club in town; there are also some special parties organised in Control Club.

What is Romania famous for?

Besides Dracula, a figure mostly created by Bram Stoker, Romania is also famous for its untouched nature and traditions. As we’ve already said on this page, visit the rural area and meet locals to experience Romania from its authentic side.